Judge Cynthia Boris has a niggling feeling that "Stacked" is a double entendre.
She Sells Books. Like You Care.
Pamela Anderson looks for stability in her life. No, it's not a special edition of Oprah, it's a very funny workplace comedy from Fox.
Facts of the Case
Skyler Dayton (Pamela Anderson, Baywatch) has spent her life taking a walk on the wild side. She parties with rock stars, dates drug dealers (lords, drug LORDS) and generally gets what she wants by flashing her…shall we say, endowments. Believe it or not, Skyler is ready for a change. She wants a normal life, a stable romance, and friends who can understand that she has more than just a killer bod working for her. She goes into a small bookstore to find a self-help book and fate takes it from there.
Through a series of twists and turns, Skyler ends up with a job at "The Stacks" which is owned by brothers Gavin (Elon Gold) and Stuart (Brian Scolaro). Gavin is a divorced, once-published author who just can't seem to get his career (or love life) back in gear. Stuart is a sci-fi geek who lives for Star Wars and "World of Warcraft." The marvelously funny Marissa Jaret Winokur plays Katrina, the snarky girl who runs the coffee counter, while the incomparable Christopher Lloyd (Back to the Future) plays daily patron and retired rocket scientist Harold.
It's a workplace comedy that is just a little different, because, let's face it, when you have Pamela Anderson working for you, how could it be anything but?
Stacked is sort of the TV version of The Breakfast Club. It's a group of mis-matched people, contained in a small room, forced to interact with each other for their own sanity and the common good. You have the gorgeous, popular girl; the unpopular, fat girl; the nerdy boy; the straight-A student; and the oddball. They bounce off each other, laugh at each other, learn from each other and become fiercely protective of their own when attacked from the outside (ex-wives, rivals, noisy neighbors, or unworthy boyfriends).
Many of the show's main plots revolve around sex and relationships; much of it is painfully funny. Jealousy and envy are heavily visited themes, as are friendship and loyalty. Pamela Anderson's real friends Carmen Electra and Jenny McCarthy both make memorable visits to the bookstore. I just couldn't get enough of the nerdy Star Wars and Lord of the Rings jokes—seriously, they crack me up.
Much of the appeal of this series comes from the fact that Katrina, Gavin, and Stuart are all very normal people with very normal problems. They have self-esteem issues, weight issues, marital issues, and success issues, just like the rest of the world. But what sets the show sideways is that Skylar, the assumed airhead "me-me" blonde, is actually the one with the answers. Sometimes silly and sometimes wise, Skylar has a straightforward philosophy that is truly refreshing. Anderson carries it off with sweetness and charm.
And Christopher Lloyd. Seriously. How could any show not be funny with Christopher Lloyd as a regular? His odd facts, left-field non-sequiturs, and fumbling manner are both funny and endearing. Lloyd is one of those comedians who can get a laugh by uttering only a single word—it's all in the delivery.
A small side note. Many of the write ups of this series incorrectly state that Tom Everett Scott (That Thing You Do) stars as Gavin, but he was only in the original pilot and he does not appear on this DVD set.
What you do get on this set are nineteen half-hour episodes including five previously unaired. The special features include a clip featurette called "Skyler's Guide to Dating," a blooper segment that seems to be more of a group of funny clips, and finally "Nipplegate: Getting Dressed with Pam." Disguised as a featurette on the costume department (Pam wears some amazing clothes in this show), it's really about the issue of Pamela's nipples making special guest appearances on various occasions.
The Rebuttal Witnesses
Only knit-picky things to complain about here. One is the two-tiered episode selection menu, which makes no sense. There are no chapter selections within each episode so the second level menu is strictly used for changing your language selection, not something most people would do on a per-episode basis. I mean, if I speak English, I want all the episodes in English. It was both bizarre and annoying to have to go through two screens just to start an episode.
Even odder is the choice to include all of the unaired episodes on their own special second level menu screen with the featurettes being the main screen on that disc. It left me wondering where all the episodes were for a moment before I figured it out.
Also, the special features were nice for such a short-lived show, but some commentaries would have been even nicer. It would have been great to hear Pamela or her co-stars talking about the experience, but then, I'm a commentary junkie.
I watched this series from the first day it aired on Fox and honestly, I'm not sure what attracted me to it. I'm not much of a modern comedy girl. Maybe it was the bookstore setting, or perhaps the work of my fifteen-year-old son. For whatever reason, I watched, I laughed, and I went back—week after week. Pamela Anderson is really charming in this series. No, I mean it. I heard that in the original concept for the series she was going to play a normal girl who ends up working with this quirky collection of comedic actors. Luckily, someone saw the stupidity of that idea and came up with concept of letting Pam play Pam. She's sexy, she leads a wild life, she's good with people, and she's smart. Maybe not book learning smart like Gavin and Harold, but she's street smart—and that's what makes the series work.
The court finds Stacked: The Complete Series to be a guilty pleasure.
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Scales of Justice
• "Nipplegate: Getting Dressed with Pam
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